Friday, July 16, 2010

Jesus is the Christian Ethical and Moral Foundation

The Beatitudes
" Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:1-10).

Jesus came to free the spirit of people from the chains of sin that bound the spirit. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains what it means to have the spirit of true disciples.

Paul describes this powerful transformation in Christ in Ephesians.
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:1-5).
The first part of the Sermon on the Mount, commonly called the Beatitudes, sets forth the spiritual dimensions of the gospel law. The control of the external person depends on the nature and strength of the inward person. The impeding force of God’s power moves through people, as they become partakers of these divine qualities. Of these qualities, Peter spoke in his second letter.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).

A repeated and key word in this text is blessed. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, this word indicates the nature of that which is the highest good. The book of Revelation uses blessed seven times. The beatitudes describe those who receive this highest nature of goodness, used twice of God . A highest nature, goodness, is coupled with a divine reward, based on a disposition of heart.
As Christ lives in us, we are able to overcome the world. When people persecute us, we rejoice: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
That we will suffer persecution is certain. Paul wrote in 2 Tim 3:12,
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
The first response from a human point of view might be to strike back. Yet, with the spirit of the Beatitudes living in us, we adopt the spirit of Christ. Jesus did not strike back, no matter what was done to him. I think we forget that. Our example of how to live lies with Jesus alone. No one else before him and no one after him has ever shown us a better, more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving, way to live our lives. Though the people we love may let us down, we can never be disappointed if we follow Jesus.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

No comments:

Post a Comment